But it Costs More to Do That

Michael Roller
University of Cincinnati


Michael Roller, IDSA
Design Director, LPK and Adjunct Professor
University of Cincinnati

Despite their expertise in the visual domain, designers face heavy scrutiny from other disciplines based on the intuitive nature with which decisions are often made in design. While more businesses seek competitive advantages through visual appeal, designers still face an uphill battle when debating the merits of these contributions against more easily measured attributes like material cost or ergonomics. However, psychological research has identified a number of principles that explain some relatively universal preferences in the visual domain. Through the use of empirically supported principles like typicality and novelty, designers can bring added credibility to their processes and reinforce the value of a core competency in aesthetics. This paper explores the potential of an empirical approach to researching visual appeal, while providing recommendations for how designers and educators can infuse their work with this approach. When design intuition unites with scientific methods, designers will reinforce their arguments through the type of data that many businesses want to make decisions. This will foster more meaningful debate throughout the product development process and will further reveal the many types of value that design brings to a business.